SAN FRANCISCO - Video games publisher Activision Blizzard ( ATVID) beat analysts expectations for the first quarter, as expected. Net income for the quarter was $59 million, or 18 cents a share, vs. net income of $27.8 million, or 9 cents a share, the year before. Excluding expenses, Activision posted net income of $74.3 million, or 23 cents a share, compared with net income of $32.8 million and earnings of 11 cents a share, a year ago. Activision's revenue for the quarter, which were largely driven by sales of its Guitar Hero and Kung Fu Panda games, rose 32% to $654.2 million from $495.5 million a year ago. Shares of Activision were down 38 cents, or 1.1%, to $35.60 in recent trading. The company's earnings report wasn't a surprise because it preannounced its results earlier this month. The results also are on a standalone basis, from the period before the closing of Activision's merger with Vivendi Games. On July 9, Vivendi and Activision completed the deal to create a new company Activision Blizzard that would combine Activision and the Vivendi Games division, which includes the blockbuster game World of Warcraft. For the second quarter, Activision Blizzard expects revenue of $636 million and a loss of 25 cents a share. Excluding the $16 million revenue from the historical Vivendi Games businesses that the company intends to dispose of or exit, it expects revenue of $620 million. Excluding charges, the company expects EPS of 8 cents, a penny higher than Street expectations.
Activision Blizzard's outlook does not include the approximately $50 million in revenue that was generated between July 1 and July 9 when Activision was a stand-alone company. For the third quarter, Activision Blizzard expects revenue of $1.85 billion and earnings, excluding charges, of 64 cents a share. Analysts are looking for revenue of $1.58 billion and earnings of 95 cents a share. Activision Blizzard's larger rival Electronic Arts' ( ERTS) posted weak results Tuesday. EA missed analysts' estimates for the first quarter. The news sent its stock down nearly 6.5%. Video games publisher THQ ( THQI) also missed analysts' expectations for the current quarter and fiscal year after it offered lower outlook.